When we want to treat cough, many of us use a syrup to relieve the symptoms. But it turned out that we’d better drop conventional drugs and let ourselves be tempted by dark chocolate, which according to one study is the best cure for coughs and breathing problems.
Professor Alyn Morice, Head of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Studies at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, and a founding member of the International Society for Cough Studies, said that “chocolate can calm coughs”. He also asserts that the supporting evidence is “in fact as solid as a fruit and nut bar. ”
In his letter, he says that the results of the largest study done in Europe on an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe have just been published.
This proves that drugs containing cocoa are better than standard products.
A study, results
The study included a direct comparison of 163 patients who reported significant improvement in their symptoms within two days of taking the chocolate drug.
And this is not the first time that chocolate is presented as a potential cure for coughs. Of scientists from Imperial College London have discovered that a compound in cocoa was more effective than codeine to treat a cough.
According to Professor Morice, it has been shown that a new chocolate medicine reduces the frequency of coughs and sleep disorders in less than 48 hours.
So, what about sweet stuff that’s so good for irritated throats?
“There are two possible reasons for that chocolate soothes a sore throat,” says Dr Sarah Jarvis, general practitioner, the Sun . “The first is that, like honey, it forms a sticky coating on the throat that can protect nerve endings that become irritated when you have a cold and can trigger coughing. The second is that cocoa contains an alkaloid substance called theobromine, which has shown great promise in cough suppression studies. ”
Theobromine is thought to help relieve cough by reducing the body’s need for coughing.
Cocoa is an emollient, that is, it is tackier and thicker than conventional antitussive medications – and therefore forms a thicker coating that protects the nerve endings in the throat.
These small nerves can trigger the desire to cough, so the chocolate “sticks” somehow.
And Professor Morice says that chocolate has more to offer than other sweet syrups.
“I’m sure he has pharmacological activity, a kind of inhibitory effect on the nerve endings themselves,” he wrote.
However, a load of hot chocolate will not have the same effect because the cocoa does not contact the throat long enough to form the protective coating.
Instead, you’d better suck a piece of dark chocolate with over 75% cocoa; it contains less sugar and fat than milk chocolate, as well as higher doses of cocoa.
Other benefits of chocolate on health
Against bad cholesterol
Improvement of cognitive functions
Scientists at Harvard Medical School have suggested that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in the elderly.
Against heart disease
The research published in The British Medical Journal (BMJ ) suggests that eating chocolate could reduce by one third the risk of developing heart disease. Based on their observations, the authors concluded that higher levels of chocolate consumption may be related to a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders.